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FREdome Visionary Trust – Carbon Cycling – Media Briefing Note

Converting unwanted carbon emissions into energy and food is a radical idea – but could it become a reality?

Put simply, there are three ways to deal with undesirable carbon emissions – stop them, bury them or convert them back into carbohydrate resources.

Current efforts are almost entirely focussed on limiting emissions against commercial and economic interests. To date there has been little interest in the third and potentially most lucrative option.

According to the FREdome Visionary Trust, the carbon cycle – where we give plants carbon dioxide and they give us carbohydrates in the form of food, fuel and biodegradable materials – has largely been destroyed – by our actions.

Instead of encouraging a symbiotic relationship with the plant world, we have created a monoculture landscape, depleting resources and strangling yield potential along the way.

Currently, only eight per cent of the world’s land is productive. With the right motivation and investment, this could be as much as 75 per cent1. Higher yields across larger areas would enable vast quantities of carbon to be locked away in vegetation where its impact is no longer harmful.

The global picture
Large scale logging and excavation of fossil fuels, particularly in coastal areas, has left huge expanding deserts, incapable of supporting vegetation or processing carbon emissions. But desert sand can be converted back into soil by adding waste to restore the organic content.

Huge supertankers already transport oil from desert regions to the West, returning empty apart from seawater as ballast2. In the meantime, we continue to dump large quantities of sewage and waste off-shore creating a growing pollution problem.

If the returning tankers took this waste back to the desert shores, millions of gallons of liquid nutrient would be made available to nourish and irrigate a coastal tree belt, creating a wetter microclimate and starting to reverse some of the effects of deforestation.

Vision into reality
There are three ways the proposal could be integrated:

Personal – Organic waste is composted or broken down in a domestic biodigester into fertiliser and/or biogas for use in small electrical generators;

Local – In populated or reclaimed areas, biorefineries turn waste into resources required by industry and consumers;

Global – In arid areas, tankered sewage (along with biodigested carbon-absorbing seaweed, algae and salt-tolerant crops) can be used to grow hardwood trees and other crops on a vast scale.

The cost of the initial exploratory phase (collation and assessment of existing scientific data; assembly of the necessary infrastructure etc) equates in total to around 6p for every UK tax payer or 3p for each UK resident.3

In contrast to emission reduction – which could reduce living standards and threaten
economies – converting carbon emissions into resources represents a net economic gain for
everyone involved.

Moving towards critical mass
The Agriculture and Environment Research Unit at the University of Hertfordshire and St
Albans District Green Party have both indicated that FREdome’s proposal warrants further
investigation.

The proposal will be the subject of an All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group session
taking place in the House of Commons on Thursday 18 November, which is Social Enterprise
Day, set in the middle of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Confirmed attendees include:

  • Chris Hines MBE, Owner of A Grain of Sand
  • William E Matthews OBE, Vice President of the International Tree Foundation
  • Fabrice Perche – TOTAL UK, HSE Executive
  • John Harmer – The Met Office, Chief Adviser to the Government

Greg Peachey, Founder and Chair of the FREdome Visionary Trust said,
“This event promises to be both inspiring and thought-provoking. My earnest hope is that renewable use of carbon is recognised as a plausible option for harnessing emissions. If it can be seen that moving this option forward is supported at a high level, I believe the immediate result will be wide-spread optimism for ourselves and future generations.”

For more information please contact:
Greg Peachey, FREdome Visionary Trust, 43a Napsbury Lane, St Albans AL1 1DU
+44 (0) 1727 823131 / 07900 221347 greg@FREdome.org

 

1 James Sholto-Douglas / Robert A de J Hart – Forest Farming
2 Operation OASIS (Overseas Arid Soil Irrigation Solution)
3 Exact figure depends upon which emerges as the optimum pilot methodology

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